Territorial government charges Victoria Gold for breaches of water and quartz mining licenses

Failure to contain substance leaking from pipeline among nine charges

The access road to Victoria Gold as viewed from the Silver Trail Highway in 2021. (Yukon News files)

The access road to Victoria Gold as viewed from the Silver Trail Highway in 2021. (Yukon News files)

The Yukon government has brought a series of charges against Victoria Gold Corporation for alleged contravention of the quartz mining and water licenses for the company’s flagship Eagle Gold Mine located near Mayo.

One of the nine charges levied against the mine alleges failure to contain a sizeable spill of the cyanide processing solution used for its heap leach facility that was reported in July 2021. Others deal with two alleged incidents of transferring water to the mine’s heap leach facility when it had less than the available storage desired in the license and failing to restore the storage within 30 days.

Also alleged are failures to report the amount of water transferred to the heap leach facility for two months in 2021 and failure to implement portions of the “approved Heap Leach Facility Operations Maintenance and surveillance Manual,” requiring them to cease water transfers to the heap leach facility.

The charges were filed with the court on May 4. The company was on the docket for a first appearance when the circuit court was in Mayo on May 25.

John Miller, a representative of the Yukon government’s major mines, was unable to say much about the charges or the circumstances they were filed under as the matter is before the courts. He said that enforcement of this kind is one of the tools available to the territory’s natural resource officers but one that is usually only resorted to once education and corrective action have already been employed.

Victoria Gold President John McConnell expressed disappointment with how the territorial government’s Department of Energy, Mines and Resources has handled enforcement by bringing the matter to court. He said spills are taken seriously, and testing after the fact turned up no cyanide outside the containment area.

He described the offences not relating to the July 2021 spill as “administrative” in nature and said that any missed deadlines on reporting or other requirements would have been done in discussion with regulators. He additionally said the delays were due to efforts to get more accurate information to report.

McConnell said he hopes that the matter can be resolved out of court.

Contact Jim Elliot at jim.elliot@yukon-news.com